#26: Further Outlook Calendar Fun

Following on from last week’s tip on New Outlook and its addition of the “In-person” switch to designate a meeting as taking place in actual 3D, here’s a quick look back at another calendary thing that’s been in Exchange and Outlook since the year dot – the meeting status.

When you create an entry in your calendar, you can set whether it shows you as busy or not – the original status choices being free/tentative/busy/OOF. Microsoft added the new “Working elsewhere” more than a decade ago, though it never really took off. It wasn’t helped by the lack of support on some clients, and an initial gnarly bug in Exchange 2013 which meant Working Elsewhere appointments sometimes disappeared. It does work pretty well now, though – Think of it like a soft Out of Office which doesn’t get in the way of people booking time with you, but it does signify that you’re not physically in the office. That’s a lot more likely these days than it was 11 years ago.

Showing your actual availability is a bit more nuanced than it was when Outlook was launched in 1997; you might be technically Out of Office but still able to be contacted in some ways. You could set a status message in Teams to add context to where you are or how available you might be.

Of course, making sure other people can see your calendar (at least sharing the high level view of where you are and what you’re doing) will help, and do tell people to use the scheduling assistant in Outlook when trying to book meetings with you. Maybe also set your Work Hours to make it clear if you habitually work at different times to your colleagues, take Friday afternoons off etc.

If you have a group of people who work closely together, you could try using a variety of other tools to track whereabouts and make it easier to meet – check out TeamLink, a free Power App that runs inside of Teams, or perhaps the supposedly forthcoming feature set formerly introduced as Microsoft Places.

Finally, there are two stages of Out of Office – there’s the automatic message you might set to respond to emails to say you’re away; the best OOF messages might just apologize that you’re gone so will probably never read these emails. Alternatively, you could set the status of your appointment to show OOF and then people who can see your calendar will know you’re just gone for a while, such as away for the afternoon, but you haven’t gone to the extent of setting up an auto-response.

Both of these can also help with voice messaging, either external telephone calls if you’re using Teams Phone or just “calls” directly into Teams from colleagues or other external contacts. Look in Teams settings, and you can set up how you want to handle calls that go unanswered. You can record your own greeting, or just type in a message and have the system say that to the caller.

Note the granularity where you could have a message played only during times when your calendar is showing Out of Office.

#23: Licensing the overlords

People might be using AI to create new art and for writing but most would prefer it to take the drudgery out of their life; and that doesn’t just mean summarizing your emails. One day, technology might fulfil that Keynesian idyll of having more leisure time than we know what to do with, but for now we’re reduced to automating a few tedious tasks while replacing them with new ones.

Robotics pioneers dreamt of having autonomous domestic servants. Aside from pervasive advancement made in manufacturing, most have been somewhat underwhelming, despite some amazing looking machines. Boston Dynamics recently unveiled the frankly terrifying new Atlas humanoid robot…

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… as a replacement to the previous variant which had been the star of many videos (including the “Do You Love Me” viral hit)…

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… even if its cost and complexity meant it was good for little more than making fancy videos. Why make a machine that looks and acts vaguely like a human if all it needs to do is move things around, where a machine dedicated to that specific task could be built more simply and with less money?

If the rise of AI and robots is giving you cause for concern, allay some of those fears with the Reddit group, /r/sh**tyrobots, which showcases epic fails of people with perhaps too much time on their hands. (The same could be said of much of Reddit but that’s another topic altogether).

One aspect of AI and robots that is conveniently overlooked is the huge cost of doing them well; don’t expect future technologies to do everything and answer all your questions without something in return, whether that’s sharing all your information with them or handing over all your money and other stuff.

Software robotics

In current times, using software to take care of tedious tasks imposed by other software can bring immediate benefits without costing the earth. Collectively known as RPA or Robotic Process Automation, the field varies from simple If-This-Then-That type logic which can knit different systems together, to altogether more engineered solutions that are part of a much bigger development.

Microsoft’s own Power Automate – formerly known as “Microsoft Flow” – starts off with an easy-to-use editor not unlike IFTTT but can encompass web-based logic or can be run on a PC to help automate repetitive tasks within installed applications. There’s a Copilot for Power Automate (of course) and AI can help to figure out what you’re trying to automate locally too.

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Keep up to speed with what’s new in Power Automate on the Release Wave documentation or on the fairly frequently updated blog.

Licensing for dummies

Power Automate is free for some things, but costs money for others. Some external systems are free to connect to, while others need you to pay directly or have an existing license. If you were designing a licensing scheme, you certainly wouldn’t start from here, in fact you could make a profession out of understanding Microsoft licensing.

Dynamics 365 pricing is going to rise pretty significantly in October 2024, though it’s the first such hike in 5 years. Still, the recent Business Applications Launch Event showed where some of the money is going; the tl;dr summary is, “Ooooh, isn’t Copilot GREAT!”.

Sometimes, Microsoft’s licensing complexity is due to external factors, though. Various competitors have also been complaining about how unfair it is that Redmond has bundled Teams in with Office 365 rather than making customers pay for it separately, and the EU pressured Microsoft to remove it from Office suites sold in Europe.

Remember the EU forcing Microsoft to ship separate versions of Windows that didn’t include a media player, because Real Networks complained? Consumers all over the world must have rejoiced.

Rather than offer a specific version to EU customers alone, Microsoft has decided to revamp the M365 suite worldwide into “with Teams” and “without Teams” versions. What this means in practice is that if you do use Teams already, you can carry on running for the same money – for now at least – depending on how you license your M365. Details are set out here.

Some customers might welcome that they can now buy their M365 subscriptions for a few $/user less than before, if they don’t currently use Teams and especially if they do subscribe to Slack, Zoom, Webex (yes, it’s still there) etc. For anyone currently using Teams it either makes no difference, or it raises the prospect of one day having to pay a $/user fee on top of the core M365 suite, and at least on the plans for M365 Enterprise for new subscribers, that will cost them more than they’d pay today.

Currently, personal/family plans are unaffected, and “business” subscriptions for M365 are available as previously or newly-discounted without Teams. Enterprise users will need to get to grips with the idea of paying for Teams separately unless they’re existing subscribers, in which case for a while, at least they don’t need to. Easy as that.

Someone has to pay the ferryman.

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No automated wirting here. If you enjoy the process of writing and the creativity it can unleash, the last thing you’d want is to have it machine-generated. AI drafting is for boring documents which will probably only get summarized by AI at the point of consumption, so who cares if they are dry and dull? Tip of the Week remains a 100% hand-crafted endeavour. Well, apart from some of the banner images because, you know, DALL-E et al can draw some groovy stuff.

684 – Teams, Countdown, Go!

clip_image002The word “Go” has so many connotations for such a couple of letters. It’s typically upbeat & positive, forward-looking and action-oriented. You get £200 for breezing past it in Monopoly, it’s the oldest board game known, it’s a popular open-source programming language and it’s what the Thunderbirds do.

Back in April 2021, ToW #574 talked about sharing a countdown timer in Teams, if you want to make it clear in a meeting that it’s about to get underway. That was by sharing the application window of a countdown clock, meaning that it would replace any other desktop sharing/slides etc being shown.

Also, the timer will loom very large on the screen of everyone watching, which could well be effective though maybe lacking some of the subtlety you’d prefer.

clip_image004A more nuanced tip would be to overlay a timer on your own video feed, so you could make the point that things are about to change, and it could be shown alongside other content or whatever else might be happening in the meeting.

Depending on how you do it, the timer could disappear altogether when it has finished, and you’d carry on with the video as before. You might even want to replace your own camera feed with a backdrop and timer until you’re ready to go and show your face.

One recommended way to achieve this effect is to use OBS Studio, open source software which started life as a kind of video manipulation tool aimed at recording or streaming, and has grown to offer a host of features and plugins to modify and manipulate video in real time. It can look a bit scary to start with, but the basics can be picked up quickly.

OBS Studio can apply a series of effects to one or more video sources – could be the real-time recording of windows showing a live demo or a physical camera, with some other stuff like a video file, overlaid on top. You can go down a rabbit-hole of effects (like put a real-life green screen behind you, then chroma key a backdrop or video onto your own video feed – see Scott Hanselman’s tutorial for inspiration).

clip_image006OBS also includes a virtual camera driver, so while you’re running the software and combining several sources – like a real camera and one or more media sources overlaid on top (along with selected effects) – OBS will combine everything to look like it’s a camera feed that can be selected in Teams, Zoom or any other software that could use a video input.

A simple trick could be to add only a countdown video to OBS and then choose the OBS Virtual Camera in Teams; it will display the video instead of your camera feed, and then when you’re ready to get going, just change the video settings in Teams to go back to your own webcam.

There are plenty of sources online for free countdown videos – here or here for example; download the file, add it to OBS as a Media Source and you’re off. If you’d like to take it up a level, here’s a more in-depth tutorial, and you can even script your own custom ones if you like to delver deeper into OBS features.

679 – Wordlament

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Even if you weren’t taken with the viral word puzzle game Wordle, you’ve probably seen the coloured grid that people would share on social media. Sometimes bragging on how lucky smart they were in getting the answer in a couple of goes, or complaining that it was too hard and that they missed out.

It also gives whingeing poms a new thing to complain about on Facebook groups, every time the Wordle answer is a 5-letter American spelling like FAVOR or LITER.

If you’re still playing Wordle each morning, you might have happened across the numerous other -dle games out there, like Quordle (same idea as Wordle but you 9 goes instead of 6, but need to solve 4 squares), Octordle (like Quordle but x8), Kilordle (x1000 – it’s getting silly). Lots of other “guessing things” online games jumped on the bandwagon, too – there’s Heardle (play it while you can – it’s shutting down on 5 May), Worldle, Cardle and, missing out on the ‘-dle’ suffix, Framed. Who needs to be productive anyway?

Wasting time while keeping your brain occupied is a time-honoured tradition, with crossword puzzles featuring in newspapers for over a century. One of the best word puzzle games to appear on mobile phones, originally launching in 2012, was Wordament. Published from a skunkworks project where two guys built it in their spare time (before moving on to be part of Minecraft), it has gone through several evolutions since, and is now available as a Windows app (in the Store, here), on mobile (Googly | Fruity) and it’s also playable in a browser.

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In each of these settings, you do need to suffer some pretty intrusive advertising unless you want to pay a few £ a month (or £10 a year) to make them go away.

clip_image006If you want to maximise your time-wasting, you can even play Wordament – and other “Games for Work” – within a Teams meeting.

There are other fun games to play during Teams meetings, too – the familiar “Bingo” being one that could be enjoyed by only those participants “in the know”.

678 – New Old Things again

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In ToW 632 – New Old Things, the topic of the old version of OneNote getting some spiffy new features was raised. This week carries on the same theme in a different direction – some altogether new versions of old applications, which might be worth taking a look at, even if they’re not quite fully featured yet.

In the beginning there was Skype. Well, actually, before that there was MSN Messenger and its variants. Business environments then got Live Communications Server, Office Communications Server, eventually Lync, and finally the confusingly branded Skype for Business.

Teams came along from the left field around 6 years ago and from a real-time collaboration product point of view, swept all before it (at least in Microsoft), eventually replacing Skype for Business, as the pandemic turbocharged its adoption and appeal. Skype is still with us, with reasonably recent releases and even integration of the new Bing and GPT driven AI.

The thing is, the original Teams client grew up pretty quickly and though it has had lots of improvements, it’s never been especially resource-light, or quick. The Teams team (herein lies one challenge with its name) took the decision to start over and build a new Teams client, shiny and slick and running like greased clip_image003lightning.

If you feel like giving it a try, you may see a Try new Teams slider on the top left of the main Teams client window; clicking that will restart Teams by closing the old app and starting the clip_image005new. There are some features not quite there yet, but the list is being updated frequently as functionality improves. If you switch to the new Teams preview and don’t like it, you can quickly switch back – but you’re either/or running one or the other.

Outlook has a longer heritage – it came out first with Office 97 so has its roots in early/mid-90s code, and even if the core of the app has been re-engineered and the UX has had numerous polishes over the years, there are still occasional peeks at a Windows 95 era application lurking beneath.

There has been a push for some time to make the Outlook Web client a more viable alternative for many users, including showing Outlook Web in an Edge sidebar even when clicking a link from the PC desktop client. Functionality differs between the full-fat desktop, the web client and the various mobile apps.

There’s a “new Outlook” on the way, now too – previously codenamed “project Monarch” it’s supposedly been in the works for years, yet looks a lot like the web client that happens to run in a window – it’s available in preview now. It may end up replacing the variety of desktop, web and mobile apps, though that could take a while. In near terms, the new Outlook will likely supplant the default Mail & Calendar apps in Windows 11.

clip_image007You may see a Try the new Outlook slider on the top right of the main Outlook window; flicking that will restart Outlook in its new guise, however unlike the new Teams, it is possible to run both new and old, side-by-side.

clip_image009One way would be to make the switch, then on the new “Outlook PRE” icon that appears on the taskbar, choose to Pin it. Then flick clip_image011back and you’ll now have both old and new Outlooks available together. You could configure the New one to remove your main M365 email account, and just have your Outlook.com / Hotmail or now even a Gmail account, while leaving all your work emails in the old Outlook UX.

If you want to keep old and new Outlook with different account setups – business in the old, private in the new, for example – go straight to the Store and install the New Outlook app, then configure it as you like when it starts.

653 – Bookings with me, you, everybody

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Ideally, within an organization where people are expected to work together, they will use tools that have been around since the 1980s and actually share their calendar with their colleagues.

Outlook users can usually see blocks of when someone looks free or busy, when looking in the Scheduling Assistant tab on a meeting, though it won’t show external attendees and unless the attendees have chosen to share their calendar details, you won’t see anything other than tentative, free, busy or out of the office. Hopefully, some eejit won’t have blocked everyone else’s calendars by informing their colleagues of an impending day off.

clip_image004When dealing with people in other time zones, there is a clue to whether they are likely to be able to join a meeting (quite apart from whether they have their calendar blocked or not) – the Work time setting is meant to show others what days and hours their expected work time is supposed to be.

Looking at the scheduling assistant grid, the light-grey area is supposed to be not-work time, and if there are any clip_image006lighter-coloured blocks, that means they’re free and open for booking. Individually, you might also see their time zone displayed in their Profile Card when clicking on the user’s name in Outlook, Teams etc. Again, this is available for people in the same organization, so when dealing with external parties another approach will be required.

A variety of 3rd party services exist to help people find time when others are free – a bit like a restaurant or hotel booking service, tools like Calendly or HubSpot (others are available) offer to expose your free time slots to selected external people, so they can find a slot that you are available and reserve it for a meeting with them. Office users could also use FindTime, which effectively sends a poll of suggested times to a group of people and gets them to vote on which one suits them best.

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There’s also a Bookings application which is part of Microsoft 365; accessible via the app launcher icon (the grid of squares on the top left if you login on office.com using an account with an active M365 subscription). Bookings is designed to manage scheduling across a group of people – like in a hairdresser’s salon, where multiple members of staff could be available on different shift patterns, but a simple web UI is presented to an end customer so they can find a time when their favourite snipper is available.

Regular ToW contributor Ian Moulster spotted a new addition to Microsoft 365 which appeared in July, and though it may have common underpinnings, it’s a different offering to Bookings – called Bookings with me.

clip_image010You might spot the Bookings with me notification in the top right of Outlook Web App, or try setting it up at outlook.office.com/bookwithme.

If available in your subscription, you can then set up a booking page with a menu of meeting types you want to accept – eg 20 minute 1:1 Teams calls in “public” (ie available to anyone who has your booking page URL – you might even add it to your email signature), or more specific meetings that are “private”, which you can choose to make available individually to sets of people. There are numerous of controls over how much time before and after the meeting, what days/times it can happen etc. Availability is synced with your Outlook calendar.

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When you share the booking page or private URL with people, they just find themselves a time that’s free, and either sign in with a M365 work or school account or give another email address. If the latter, they will get an email with a verification code to enter into the booking form (M365 users are presumed already clean), and after confirming the code, they’ll get a meeting request sent from your calendar, with location and/or Teams details.

652 – ‘Av @, ta!

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One of the most eagerly-awaited updates to Microsoft Teams took a step closer, with the announcement at Ignite that Mesh Avatars are going into preview.

clip_image004When Mesh (the new metaverse avatary thing, rather than the Ray Ozzie sync tech from 2008) was first unveiled 18 months ago, Brad Sams from First Ring Daily had a new business idea. Using Mesh avatars for Teams, the floating torso thing is less of an issue. Since most people in Teams meetings are sitting or standing at a desk, those who use their camera (rather than feigning some technical reason to not do so) will generally only be visible from the middle up anyway.

The Mesh Avatars for Teams feature is currently in private preview, and will roll out more widely “later” – if you’re interested in taking part in the public preview, sign up for more info, here.

In a nutshell, this capability allows you to be in a Teams meeting but instead of showing your camera image, it displays an avatar you define instead.

clip_image006The avatar doesn’t move, other than its mouth mumbling along if you are talking.

Although the stock images in the preview docs show various types of engagement, all of them are done by the avatar’s operator so most of the time, a team meeting full of avatars will have everyone staring blankly out into space.

One side effect of this is that the avatars still look vaguely engaged, even if their humans have left the room to make a cup of tea. Why sit in a boring meeting when you can have your avatar do it for you?

clip_image008You create your own digital likeness in a similar process to how you’d customize a character on Xbox – there are numerous options for shape, colour, clothing, accoutrements and so on.

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Start by clicking the “…” button on the vertical left toolbar in Teams and search for Mesh Avatar to kick the process off. If you don’t find that in the apps list, then you’ll need to wait until the preview is available to you.

In use, you can either have your camera on or you can use an avatar, and you will be able to add custom backgrounds to either.

You could freak everyone out by taking a webcam photo of your real backdrop, just without you in it, and let your avatar virtually inhabit your actual office.

During a meeting, there is a fairly diverse gallery of actions that you can make your avatar do – from simple stuff like giving a thumbs up or visibly laughing, to a range of theatrical reactions that might help convey how you feel about the meeting you’re currently in. 

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650 – All hands meetings

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Even though Dilbert isn’t funny any more there have been some good ones in the past, satirising corporate life. People who used to be cubicle or office based might struggle to deal with the new reality that most office workers would rather not be in the office 5-days-a week, 9 to 5, yet bosses would prefer people to not be slacking off at home in their PJs.

Zoom, Teams and other platforms adopted a metaphor in an online meeting, where attendees can figuritively raise their hand so they can be asked to speak. It works well when the people running the meeting have the discipline to check that they don’t have a forest of lifted paws before asking, “are there any questions?” to their audience.

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It helps if presenters are not doing the lowest-common-denominator thing of sharing their desktop to present slides. Using Teams’ own slide sharing means you can see the chat, and who’s joined, and whether they have their hand raised.

clip_image004Meeting participants also need to have the practice of raising their hand and waiting to be invited to talk, rather than blaring in to raise new topics or talk over others. Other attendees can also see who has their hand raised (look in the video gallery and you may notice those who have their hand raised are highlighted) and if you look in the People pane, you’ll see the order that attendees raised their hands as well, so if you’re the organizer then you can ask the top and most patient questioner to contribute at a point that makes sense.

A new etiquette has sprung up in hybrid meetings, though – how to balance commentary from remote attendees with chatter that’s happening in the room? Ordinarily, you’d rely on body language in a meeting room to decide it’s time to interject, nodding and perhaps making hand gestures yourself.

When some / half / most of the attendees are remote but you’re in the physical meeting room, it might be prudent to actually join the same Teams meeting on your PC – you’d only be sitting in the room looking at email on your screen anyway – and use the hand raise function before speaking, even if you’re sitting next to other contributors. This way, you’re on the same footing as all the remote attendees and it shows that you are at least giving the pretence of thinking about them too.

clip_image006When joining a Teams meeting on your PC, there’s a yeah-yeah dialog box which pops up just before entering the “room”, which presents various potentially relevant audio related options. The norm would be to use comptuer audio, then select what speakers/mic you want to use.

These join options can also give you a number to dial in to (or be called by the meeting, so you can stay silent and camera-less on somebody else’s dollar).

If you’re the first to join while in a physical Teams Room, you could bring the room system into your meeting and control it from your machine.


clip_image008If you are a bod in the room, though, then choose “Don’t use audio” to avoid any mic or speaker issues, causing endless echo. That way, you can enter the online meeting while being in the actual room, interact with other attendees on chat and use features like reactions and hand raising just as if you’re sitting at home.

Just remember that you are, actually, in front of other people, and also remember to change the default option back to “Computer audio” next time you enter a truly remote meeting, or you’ll spend the first few minutes saying “hello, hello? Can you hear me…?”

649 – Exploring SharePoint libraries

clip_image002SharePoint is now old enough that it could walk into a bar and buy itself a beer. It has changed a lot over the versions; starting out as a server product that would produce “portals” (or “digital dashboards”) it grew quickly to being rather more document-centric. SharePoint became the back-end for OneDrive for Business storage, and both have evolved a long way.

Two years ago, SharePoint was said to be used by over 200 million users. The following year, the Gartner MQ had it way out in front on the “Ability to Execute” Y-axis and slightly behind only one other supplier on the “Completeness of Vision” X-axis. It won’t be long now for the next MQ report to appear.

Nowadays, SharePoint underpins quite a lot of Microsoft 365 functionality, such as apps like Lists which provide a groovier UI over the top of the base web services, and the document oriented collab in Teams.

clip_image004If you look at a file library in Teams, you’ll see a bunch of SharePoint-y options – you can Sync the content offline and it will be held offline, using OneDrive to sync it (and if you like, syncing only the files you’ve opened rather than the whole shebang).

clip_image006The Sync’ed libraries show up in the Windows Explorer app, and in any number of applications’ File | Open / Save dialog boxes, so you can access and interact with the files through the apps you use rather than browsing to SharePoint.

You’ll see a collection of folders that have been set up to Sync, shown with your organization name, alongside any personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business synced libraries.

The Download option (next to Sync on the Toolbar in Teams), creates a single ZIP file your computer, with the entire contents of the folder you’re looking at, so use it carefully.

clip_image008One somewhat overlooked option further to the right of the toolbar (or may be on the ellipsis (“…”) menu): Add shortcut to OneDrive. This creates a shortcut link to the current SharePoint folder within your main OneDrive for Business storage, making it easy to find that SharePoint folder in the future, even though it’s not synced offline. The Add shortcut option is also visible on the ellipsis to the right of sub-folders when viewed in SharePoint or Teams.

Don’t add shortcuts to libraries – or sub-folders – which are already being Synced offline. That would be bad.

One downside to the OneDrive shortcut approach is that it just dumps the link into “My Files”, which is the root folder in OneDrive. The shortcut is named the same as the original source – so if you have lots of Teams folders with the same name (eg “Documents”), they will clash with each other as adding a new link would try to create a shortcut with the same name as one that exists already.

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One solution would be to create a subfolder in OneDrive, called Sites (or similar), and after creating the shortcut to your latest Teams/SharePoint site, go to the root OneDrive folder and move your new shortcut – maybe renaming it too, so you can see what its parent site was (since the shortcut doesn’t make it clear what the source SharePoint site is) – you’d then have a Sites folder with lots of Shortcuts like Project Team – Documents etc.

Another side benefit of using shortcuts rather than Syncing offline, is that if you have multiple PCs – or feel like accessing OneDrive through a browser on a different machine altogether – you will always have access to the same collection of shortcuts, whereas the Sync offline capability is configured separately on each machine.

642 – Finding work stuff

Data storage has become very cheap over the decades – a while ago, ComputerWorld wrote an article, saying that when it was founded 50 years previous, a 1MB hard disk would cost you $1M, and in 2017, that would work out at $0.02. 5 years later, $0.02 would get >1GB, more than 1,000 times as much.

clip_image002[4]This profusion has turned many of us into pilers – what’s the point of organizing data and deleting old stuff, be that files, emails, camera roll photos?

Outlook has a pretty good search function built in. OneDrive photos has some great organizing and filtering capabilities (like On This Day, or if you have GPS enabled on your camera/phone, you can easily group photos by the location taken from).

clip_image004[4]Still in OneDrive, there is also some AI-based tagging of your pics, which can sometimes be a bit hit & miss… but more often than not gets it about right.

While browsing “All Photos”, if you mouse-over to the right, you’ll get a scrollable timeline too (similar to the Windows Photos app), so you can quickly jump to a reference date.

Assuming you’re using Microsoft 365 / Office 365 at your workplace, there are other ways to find stuff that is more work-related, like documents, email and messages. One easily overlooked source is the “new tab” experience within the Edge browser.

clip_image006[4]The content on the default home page can be customized in a variety of ways, from choosing whether to show a background image or keep it clear; to displaying content from various “news” providers and clickbait advertisers that Microsoft News / MSN has elected to present to you, or hiding that altogether.

You can do some filtering of that content too, though for work purposes, many people may want to leave the page layout in “Focused”, which puts a link bar at the bottom and hides the content to be a scroll away.

Edge Profiling

If you have a “Work” profile (or you only have a single profile) and it is connected to your work account – ie your Microsoft 365/ Office 365 email address rather than your personal one – then you’ll see a “Microsoft 365” link within the list of content providers, which gives you a simple view of your most recent documents, SharePoint sites you visit and a whole lot more. To learn more about this Edge Enterprise tab, see here.

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Also, you’ll see the search box containing your company name – it uses Bing to search for whatever you put in there (somewhat controversially, regardless of what your default search engine in the browser is…). Edge doesn’t give you the option – like IE used to – of starting a tab with a completely blank page, though there are hacks to make that work.

clip_image010[4]If you stick with the standard new tab, it will also give you the choice of restricting your search to “Work”, so looking at documents and the likes. You’ll see a list of content sources clip_image012[4]displayed on the left side as tabs, allowing you to filter what you’re looking for or where you want to search.

There’s a fairly new one that searches “Messages”. At least for now, that means Outlook and / or Teams messages, but it could be really useful when trying to remember if a conversation you had was in email or in a Teams chat.

A quick way to jump to this section is to go to aka.ms/messages

– regardless of which browser you’re using, as it uses the Bing.com/work back end.